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Intel's Conroe Previewed and Benchmarked 261

DrFishstik writes "Anandtech has a few preliminary benchmarks on Intel's new Conroe architecture. From the article: 'As far as we could tell, there was nothing fishy going on with the benchmarks or the install. Both systems [AMD 2.8Ghz OC and Conroe] were clean and used the latest versions of all of the drivers.'"
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Intel's Conroe Previewed and Benchmarked

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  • Shock news. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by supersnail ( 106701 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @07:50AM (#14873876)
    Next years Intel chip will run faster than last years AMD chip!
  • The Conclusion (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mtenhagen ( 450608 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @07:54AM (#14873889) Homepage
    The conclusion from the article:

    While we're still comparing to Socket-939 and only using RD480, it does seem very unlikely that AMD would be able to make up this much of a deficit with Socket-AM2 and RD580. Especially looking at titles like F.E.A.R. where Conroe's performance advantage averages over 40%, it looks like Intel's confidence has been well placed.

    Also keep in mind that we are over six months away from the actual launch of Conroe, performance can go up from where it is today. We also only looked at the 2.66GHz part, the Extreme Edition version of Conroe will most likely be clocked around 3.0GHz which will extend the performance advantage even further.

    AMD still does have some time to surprise us with AM2, but from what we've seen today, they are going to have to do a lot of work to close this gap. We saw performance today in the two areas that we were most concerned about with Conroe: gaming and media encoding, and in both Intel greatly exceeded our expectations. Also remember that Conroe should be lower power than the AMD offering we compared it to, although we weren't able to measure power consumption at the wall in our brief time with the systems.

    Going into IDF we expected to see a good showing from Conroe, but leaving IDF, well, now we just can't wait to have it.

    More from the show as we get it...
  • Re:The Conclusion (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mtenhagen ( 450608 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @08:05AM (#14873931) Homepage
    Well the "new" intels are faster then the "old" amd's. This not suprising Intel has plenty of cash and had to come out with a cpu faster then amd.

    The big question will be how will this compare to the next generation of AMD cpu's. And what will the price be. If amd will be faster per dollar the rise of amd will continue.
  • Who staged This? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @08:12AM (#14873952)
    And as you'll notice Intel Staged the test so it will be interested to see what a Third party test will learn when the do a comparison, along with the new AMD processors, not ones that are already months old.
  • by Malenfrant ( 781088 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @08:24AM (#14873998)
    Yes, exactly. They tested it against a chip which is not listed as being as fast, overclocked so they can pretend it is as fast. Big surprise it didn't perform as well
  • What about RAM? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @08:26AM (#14874009)
    The AMD system used 1GB of DDR400 running at 2-2-2/1T timings, while the Intel system used 1GB of DDR2-667 running at 4-4-4.


    Intel told us to expect an average performance advantage of around 20% across all benchmarks.

    Did they really expect around 20% better performance, while using 66% faster RAM? That seems at least unfair to me... Especially the encoding tests, whose results depend heavily on RAM access.
  • Re:Shock news. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Saven Marek ( 739395 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @08:30AM (#14874017)
    THe simple fact remains that intel needed to do these tests at all, side by side. That's an admission on their part that AMD is beating them and beating them hard. I've heard AMD has some new stuff in the pipeline that'll put conroe out of its misery once and for all.

    Given Intel's release date fiasco's it'll probably come out before conroe too.
  • Re:Wait and see (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert AT slashdot DOT firenzee DOT com> on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @08:31AM (#14874020) Homepage
    And Intel's new chips are based on the Pentium-M, which is still heavily based on the Pentium-PRO that dates from the early 90s...
    Intel's attempt to produce a new architecture (netburst/p4) resulted in an underperforming overheating mess, so they're going back to one that works.
  • by digitaldc ( 879047 ) * on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @08:36AM (#14874036)
    Since you need a really high-end PC to play most new games these days, most people will miss out on the new titles and technology. The new dual-core technology is outpacing most users purchasing power and the ability to even play the game on its lowest graphics settings.

    A year or two after people spend an avg. of $1000+ for a new system, most are not going to run out and buy the latest dual core chip and ATI/NVidia video card just to play the latest new game (Quake 4, Far Cry, F.E.A.R., etc.) and then keep doing that year after year.

    They need to make it so the games can be played (with the lowest settings) on any system with chips from the past 5 years IMHO. Then everyone can enjoy the game, some more detailed than others. At this point, it is just better to buy an XBOX or PS2 and just buy games that they know they can play without constantly upgrading your system.
  • There is a lot more to picking a processor than just how fast it runs. Personally, I have more bottlenecks with I/O (as I've said before) than I do with video or processor performance.

    Of importance to me in addition to raw speed are are the number of concurrent threads, the power consumption and with that the heat output I have to dissapate into my office or my lap, and of course the expense of both the processor and the ram it needs to get these kinds of speeds.

    Frankly, I'm looking for which allows me to build the most efficient system for my needs at the least cost.
  • by Alsee ( 515537 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @08:56AM (#14874119) Homepage
    Code-named Conroe... blah blah blah ...feature "security" is expected to be discussed in the framework of a technology that is based on standards set by the Trusted Computing Group and carries the code-name "LaGrande." [tgdaily.com]

    Intel's new chips have a Trust Enforcer chip embedded inside the CPU itself. Each chip features a unique serial number, DRM enforcement, Sealed Storage to prohibit you from reading your own files on your hard drive, and Remote Attestation to act as a spy on your computer to log your hardware and what software you run and to securely transmit that spy report to other people over the internet. The chip has your computer's master key locked inside, and you are forbidden to know your master key to control your own computer. Other models of the Trust chip are boobytrapped to self destruct if you attempt to get you key out, and I'd wager these CPUs are boobytrapped to self destruct as well.

    Evil as hell.

  • by InsaneLampshade ( 890845 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @09:01AM (#14874141) Journal
    This is the problem i have with deciding on which processor i want to buy for my new computer...

    I keep reading all these benchmarks, but then i hear afterwards "Oh, if you think that's good, just wait and see what so-and-so is comming out with next year!", so i think, oh, ok, i'll just wait for that then. Then when the new processor gets benchmarked i just hear the same thing over again.

    And so... i don't think i'll ever buy a new processor... i'm always waiting for the next version. :(
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @09:02AM (#14874143)
    Lets actually see the processor released before we crown it the new champion. After all, I still haven't seen a 4GHz Prescott [theregister.co.uk] that they demonstrated.
  • by Tei ( 520358 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @09:09AM (#14874179) Journal
    Often on videogames the limiter is the GPU, not the CPU.
    Changes on CPU affect litte to nothing on FPS.

    But maybe this will change?

    If your game or engine required intense collision calculations, of phisic simulations. And this stuff its mostly poorly code with scripts. Or you need to compress/uncompress on-the-fly textures or sound. You will need that CPU horsepower.

    Its also interesting how different RAM types and quantity of L1 cache affect this beckmarks. I think the information provides its too litte to really know anithing about the combo new games with new hardware.
  • by bleughbleugh ( 957216 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @09:15AM (#14874201)
    yep, impressive, BUT, more important than benchmarks for most Bang per buck by that I mean, if the AMD processor is 50% less than the Intel one, but only 20% slower, AMD will win it for me :-)
  • by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @09:28AM (#14874242) Homepage Journal
    Maybe it is time to ask that AMD gets out of the Trusted alliance before their chips are like that?
  • Re:Shock news. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ravenscall ( 12240 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @09:37AM (#14874287)
    Let's look at the facts:
    - They benchmarked 2.667GHz Conroe against 2.8GHz Athlon64 FX (FX-60 with 200MHz overclock)

    So they are taking the AMD processor out of spec which can affect performance. Also, the forthcoming AMD processors are a new core architecture and will support faster RAM with an onboard memory controller. I think benchmarks of the final products will be much different. This is the same type of dog and pony show Intel has been doing since they released the Celeron (and possibly before, but that is when I started paying attention to hardware marketing).

    - 2.8GHz Athlon64 FX will be released in June
    - 2.667GHz Conroe will be released somewhere in Q3 2006
    - Conroe Extreme editition clocked to at least 3.0GHz will be released somewhere in Q3 2006 (there have been rumours about 3.33GHz version)

    If you think those numbers mean anything, I would like to know what cave you have been living in for the past 3 years.

  • by FirstOne ( 193462 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @09:55AM (#14874375) Homepage

    Something isn't right, from the screenshot [anandtech.com].

    ..Using an award bios last copyrighted in 2003 for AMD's latest FX-60 chip (2006)..
    ..Notice how the AMD Processor isn't correctly id'd in the Bios post.
    ..Even though.. DFI has distributed a new bios version to suport FX60 [dfi.com.tw]..

    .. This thread [rage3d.com]indicates that there is some video defect in RD480 chipset..

    These red flags indicate that something is very fishy and Intel's results should not be trusted... (rigged test)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @09:56AM (#14874381)

    There's surprisingly little discussion of this... I remember, about 8 years ago, hearing an Intel engineer talking about how the next step in security was going to be ensuring that a PC was secure against its owner -- along with his updates on such things as encryption from end-to-end with media. I said at the time that what Intel was planning was nothing less than a total lockdown of the previously open PC platform.

    And here we are... the final step. With this hardware in a PC, it does not belong to you... you have paid for a car with the bonnet welded shut and no keys.

    It's important for everyone to realise just what an enormous amount of control this hardware gives to technology companies... in simple terms: your PC will be nothing more than a set-top box. Technology companies are furiously spinning this as improved security... which is not entirely wrong. This hardware does have security benefits... but as things stand, *YOU*, the person who paid money for the machine, are not in control of it. As others have noted, trusted computing is about them not trusting you -- and not about you trusting your machine. On the contrary, the only thing you can trust is that machines with this hardware are not working for you. Hence the strong link with DRM -- this hardware will enforce DRM on a PC, not to mention allow companies to make any FOSS proprietary (see the discussions about the GPL v3 for examples). Indeed, the TCPA system was designed in conjuction with the RIAA and the MPAA. It's supported by all the technology companies. And don't think that Linux distributors are against it either -- Red Hat is busy working with IBM to produce a TCPA version of Linux... software that cannot be modified by you and continue to work as it did. How about Gstreamer - the media framework used in GNOME? the company behind that has developers who are actively welcoming the introduction of signed Linux kernels (yes, Christian Schaller, I'm talking about you) that will ensure that media is never intercepted and stored... but which will also no longer function if you modify them, or even recompile them yourself. Source code means little in a Trusted Computing world, all that matters is who digitally signed the binary... and this hardware will enforce that. Companies like Red Hat, IBM, Novell, Fluendo etc can all effectively take ownership of FOSS code. Remember: DRM is all about applications. To control data, you must control what applications can access it. DRM is about apps, not data.

    You are going to have to fight for your rights on this one. Apple users have rolled over and accepted the introduction of a TPM into the new Intel-based Macs... but then, they can never be relied on to say anything critical of Apple, even when they are being lied to and sold a lemon. They are quite happy to accept this. I would hope the PC crowd is different. Read Professor Ross Anderson's TCPA FAQ [cam.ac.uk]. Read Seth Schoen's updates on what Microsoft is planning to do with this hardware -- if that doesn't scare you, nothing will. Join things like the EFF's push to ensure that the hardware you pay good money for works for you [eff.org], and not Intel/Microsoft and Hollywood. Do not assume that "someone will hack it"... this stuff is not your average dumbass security measure. Educate yourself before its too late and this technology, in its present form, becomes ubiquitous. Support the push to ensure that you, as the owner, have access to the master key... and some method of owner override. Otherwise, in five years, there will be a big brother in every single PC and no way of escaping it.

  • Re:Shock news. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GuyverDH ( 232921 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @10:04AM (#14874419)
    As far as Mhz semi-equating to speed...

    Doesn't anyone else recall Intel releasing a faster processor, yet having to have the CPU idle for half of them to keep it from melting down?

    Seems to me that we can speculate all you want, yet, in the end, only final numbers will be able to show what's what....

    At this point it's all a big phallic comparison, and everyone who jumps on board swinging their own extensions are just blowing smoke up everyone's arses.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @10:06AM (#14874427)
    New motherboard/CPU/RAM every 4 years (keep the old monitor, mouse, etc), say $250. Upgrade the graphics card every 2 years (probably overkill), $100. $90 a year, the cost of 3 games - and if you don't buy 3+ games a year why upgrade anyway?
    Buy not-quite-bottom end stuff, you get the best bang-for-buck and you'll be able to play anything on the market. I'm using an athlonXP 2600+ and it's still comfortably able to play anything that's around, I figure I'll do my next CPU swap when dual-core AMD gets below $120 - I might be able to use the same DDR400 RAM too, saving more cash.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @10:10AM (#14874458)

    Believe it or not, this fight is not lost. It's not just geeks on slashdot. This hardware (with the master key hidden) takes control of the PC *completely away from a business*. It puts them completely at the mercy of Intel and Microsoft.

    We can get them onside in the push to ensure that they hardware works for us, and not against us. We jsut have to make sure that they hear us and not just Intel whisphering seductive promises of better security and control over their computers.

    Look at it this way: Microsoft and Intel will be selling this hardware as allowing Boss total control of his employees. The reality is that any company boss submitting to use this hardware without access to the master key is giving up any control of their data, and in fact, any privacy. This is a message that will sell... and Intel and Microsoft *will* have to listen when their business customers start telling them to fuck off. We just have to ensure that our message is heard, by the press, by business, and by your average consumer.

  • by GooberToo ( 74388 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @10:24AM (#14874552)
    That's exactly right. AMD pruposely does not chase the clock cycle monkey. That's the whole point behind their naming convention. While I admit I did not read the article, based on these comments, it's pretty clear that the comparison is complete BS. AMD, for a long time now, has gotten great performance by changing/tweaking their design and not by simply cranking up cycles....which sounds exactly what was done in this comparison.

    Who knows, this test may be foretelling of AMD's next effort, but until the actual product is out, IMO, this test is meaningless.
  • by FirstOne ( 193462 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @10:38AM (#14874662) Homepage

    Corrected link to DFI bios update. [dfi.com.tw]. (using ATI's RD480) chipset..

    Notice items.. 1, 2, and 10..

  • Re:Wait and see (Score:2, Insightful)

    by the_real_bto ( 908101 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @10:50AM (#14874771)
    It sounds like AMD and Intel are both choosing the designs that work. How can anyone blame them for that? Can you follow up with more evidence on your "carbon copy" claim? If AMD's designs are so uninspired, then why is AMD giving Intel so much trouble right now? This in spite of Intel's advantage in manufacturing technology and might.

    I don't believe for a second that Intel's marketing department designed the p4. But I'm also not so naive as to think that Intel's marketing department didn't try to take advantage of high clock speeds in their advertising. They made their bed, now they get to lie in it.

    AMD has delivered better speed performance at better power consumption than Intel. Kudos to Intel for trying a new design, too bad for them they stuck with it for so long. That is life in the big city. The company that delivers *results* gets rewarded. AMD has done just that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @10:56AM (#14874836)
    The FEAR benchmark is actually the most peculiar, because FEAR is usually bottlenecked by GPU performance. The Conroe doesn't just do slightly better, it does significantly better. It does so in FEAR while its encoding performance for WMA and iTunes is only marginally better than that of the X2's. Those are actually CPU-bound tasks, and they're seeing =12% while FEAR is seeing a 23.8%-52% improvement over the X2. That should seem a tiny bit peculiar to anyone.
  • Re:Wait and see (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sketch ( 2817 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @11:04AM (#14874911) Homepage
    Never mind that the AMD K7 was a carbon copys of the P6 microarchitecture, with incremental tweaks most probably applied to account for P6 shortcomings found in the field. That's an euphemism for `AMD stole Intel's field experience.' The K8 core is only an incremental tweak of K7, the major feature being the on-die memory controller.
    So really, AMD can't blame Intel for using P6-derived cores since they're doing the same (not to mention the ethics of stealing a competitor's design). Also, their incremental tweaks aren't really that significant -- process technology changes account for the larger share of performance increase.

    I don't think anyone who knows much about CPU's is "blaming" Intel for going back to the P6 core. The P6 was basically the beginning of the modern x86 CPU...more RISC than CISC. As for the K7, this article [arstechnica.com] has a good summary of how it's similar to, but different from, the P6. I think a better euphamism would be 'AMD decided to build a better P6'. (Which is actually what Intel has done as well. This isn't just a faster P6, it's redesign of the P6.) AMD 'stole' from Intel about as much as Intel stole from DEC and Motorola and other RISC CPUs in building the P6, and as much as they had 'stolen' from the CPUs before them. Welcome to the evolution of the CPU, where every CPU is not designed in a vacuum with no relation to anything else, but is built on previous technology and ideas.
    Intel tried to raise the bar with the P4 designs, applying some risky design features like hyperpipelined design, and unfortunately the strategy didn't work out all that well, in no small part due to power issues. Moreover they had to endure fanboy cries of `designed by marketing!', but that's the price one pays for exploring new ground in computer architecture. Meanwhile AMD will be content to follow on Intel's successful footsteps as they've always done.

    Too bad the superior engineers at Intel weren't smart enough to copy AMD's supposedly "minor tweaks" and bring out a competitive CPU in the last couple of years, and instead chose to stick with their risky design which essentially hit a clock speed wall that they were apparently unable to predict. Surely the geniuses at Intel could have designed a better P6 than that "copy" which was beating their P4 in less than 6 years. Or perhaps they didn't care, and thought that marketing would keep them on top?
  • by LurkerXXX ( 667952 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @01:48PM (#14876720)
    Wait. You are implying a hardware vendor went out of their way to give unrealistically good comparisons of their hardware compared to their competitors by mucking around with the benchmarks setup?

    I hope no one tells ATI or Nvidia that this is possible. ;)

    History repeats itself. Wait for the real hardware to come out and be benchmarked by independent 3rd parties before getting worked up about how great the new Intel harware is going to be, once it's not vaporware. Nothing new here folks.

  • Re:Shock news. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NatteringNabob ( 829042 ) on Wednesday March 08, 2006 @02:35PM (#14877165)
    [ even if you into account that Athlon64 FX will soon support DDR2 ] How about when you take into account that the Intel chip is 65nm and the AMD is 90nm? The next AMD die shrink will likely take care of most of the performance difference. In the meantime, in the battle between products that you can't actually buy, Intel appears to have a lead on their prefered benchmarks.

1 1 was a race-horse, 2 2 was 1 2. When 1 1 1 1 race, 2 2 1 1 2.